Move aside, Jameis: The Auburn-Mississippi State winner will be No. 1
Florida State’s streak of 10 consecutive Associated Press Top 25 polls at No. 1 should end this weekend regardless of game results.
The Auburn-Mississippi State winner should commandeer enough attention and votes to leapfrog the Seminoles even if FSU thrashes Syracuse on the road.
As of this week’s AP poll, Florida State has 35 first-place votes, Auburn has 23 and Mississippi State has two. The logical assumption is whether the Tigers or Bulldogs win, that team will inherit all 25 first-place votes that didn’t go to FSU last week.
That means either Auburn or Mississippi State needs to steal just six votes from FSU to nudge past the Seminoles into No. 1.
Considering the defending national champions have been bleeding first-place votes all season since getting 57 of 60 in the preseason poll, and the fact that FSU won tight games against Oklahoma State, Clemson and North Carolina State, that seems like a foregone conclusion.
If the Bulldogs win at home, they’d have beaten down three consecutive Top 10 teams, each more impressive than the next. Even if LSU and Texas A&M were overrated, beating No. 2 Auburn, the defending SEC champion, to get to 6-0 would send a flood of No. 1 votes to MSU. Especially in front of what’s sure to be a massive national audience as GameDay heads to Starkville, Miss.
If Auburn wins, the Tigers are 11-1 against SEC foes since the beginning of last season and claim road wins against ranked opponents in Kansas State and Mississippi State, which enters the game tied with Ole Miss at No. 3.
To summarize, either Auburn or Mississippi State will impress voters and a huge national audience with a win against a top 3 program this weekend, while Florida State either will struggle again or get a meaningless blowout against a Syracuse team trying not to lose a fourth consecutive game.
As an added bonus, either Dak Prescott or Nick Marshall has a great opportunity to claim Heisman frontrunner status while relegating FSU QB and resident villain Jameis Winston to No. 2 (or worse) in the polls as well.
Alabama was the last SEC team at No. 1. The Tide fell after the heart-wrenching 34-28 Iron Bowl loss at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The College Football Playoff committee’s poll doesn’t get released until Oct. 28. But the SEC West winner is guaranteed a spot in the four-team field, assuming it wins the SEC championship with no more than one loss.
Auburn’s schedule is brutal the rest of the way and it’s too early to narrate their path, but MSU would get much closer to a CFP berth with a win, likely needing a split against Alabama and Ole Miss and a win against Georgia or Missouri in Atlanta.